5 Anime to Represent the Zodiac
by Lynzee Loveridge,
Astrology might be the most mainstream form of fortune-telling. Most people know their Zodiac signs but probably haven't studied palmistry. Your weekly newspaper has the horoscopes in the back with the funnies and classifieds. I haven't checked my own horoscope in awhile but I got to thinking it again after a friend shared an image on Twitter of a landlord denying a tenant application because they didn't think their Zodiac signs would jive. I mean, I guess that's legal. Maybe they were a Scorpio.
Zodiac signs attach alleged personality characteristics. This often makes it shorthand for character writing. Every confident, athletic character or hot-headed fighter is an Aries. Classically beautiful women are Virgos. Scorpios are mysterious and brooding. Less commonly the animals of Zodiac became the central focus but Fruits Basket isn't the only series that decided to take the mythology seriously.
This is the "go-to" zodiac series. Each member of the Souma family represents one of the Chinese animals plus our beloved Kyō as the outcast cat. If you haven't seen the original series, read the manga, or are watching the reboot, the story could be described as one part romance, one part comedy, and two parts family drama. The novelty of being the embodiment of a zodiac animal gets old pretty fast when you are denied human touch by the opposite sex, freak out your parents, and have much of your life's path mapped out by family politics. (I still wouldn't mind being able to 'nope' out of social situations by turning into a rabbit, though).
Etotama takes the basis of the disagreement between the cat and the other zodiac animals and injects full of hyperactive sugar. One hapless dude ends up renting a house on the cheap (if I had a nickel for every time this scenario lead to anime shenanigans...) only to find out that he's got a direct line to the gods. The cat spirit Nya-tan is a lesser deity but she can up her rank if she manages to defeat all the other Chinese Zodiac spirit girls (yeah, they're also animal-girls) in battles of skill and wit. Each these encounters leaves our guy Takeru with yet another weird roommate. The series was an interesting blend of traditional anime style and super-deformed CG but it didn't make much of impression upon its release.
Say what you want about its final act, but Jūni Taisen managed to be entertaining for the bulk of it. I was intrigued by its character designs, especially Rabbit and Rooster. The story of the Chinese zodiac was always a race, so why not a murder race. 12 killing machines join fight until only one is left standing as part of a proxy war and to have their one wish granted, even if that wish is just to have a harem of men at your beck and call.
Starry Sky takes the Western zodiac and imagines it as a reverse harem. Admittedly, most big cast harem series usually give their romantic options different zodiac signs anyway. Starry Sky just hones in on that one, exact profile statistic and uses it as a major gimmick. Our heroine is Tsukiko (ha) who transfers to newly converted co-ed school in the middle of nowhere. Each episode we're introduced to a new guy representing one of the Western zodiac signs and its stereotyped traits. For instance, Mr. Cancer is the sentimental, moody childhood friend and Mr. Aries is a highly competitive leader.
The Sailor Guardians each represent a planet and by association their personalities are strongly tied to their respective zodiac. Rei is a through-and-through Aries and Usagi is the very definition of a clingy Cancer. Their respective powers are also a blend of their sign's cardinal houses and related Greco-Roman myth. Mars' fire powers are related to the planet ruling the sign of Aries and its cardinal fire sign. Sagittarius is another fire sign but in that case that went with Jupiter's Roman mythology counterpart. I've got to give credit, Sailor Moon is probably what got me into astrology.
Lynzee is an Aries Sun, Taurus Moon, Libra ascendant Rabbit. Her numerology number is 3.
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